Local History
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DeMotte, Indiana History 1997

30 Years of Growth
100 Years of Tradition


Foreword & Acknowledgement

Before the White Man/Coming of the First Settlers

DeMotte Grows into a Town

Early Transportation & Farming

The First Schools

Dredging of the Grand Kankakee Marsh

Leonard Swart (Interview)

Casper Belstra (Interview)

Northern Indiana Land Company

The Halleck Telephone Company

DeMotte Mercantile Company

DeMotte Library Grows

Cheever's Garage

Eighty Years of Community Banking

Fairchild & Tanner History

Earl Schwanke Article

Keener Township Fire Department

(Art) Lageveen Looks Back

Fire Almost Destroys DeMotte in 1936

Kankakee Valley Post-News

Asparagus & Truck Farming

Businessmen's Association

Lageveen Remembers Incorporation

Belstra Remembers When...

Kankakee Valley Schools

DeMotte Elementary School

(DeMotte) Christian School

Mark L. DeMotte

Charlie Halleck

Walter Roorda, State Representative


Van Keppel Construction Company

Fire Destroys Main Building at Kaper's

The Hamstra Group

DeMotte Historical Society

Tysen's Family Food Center

Belstra Milling

The Fire of 1992

United Methodist Church

DeMotte Christian Church

Community Bible Church

Calvary Assembly of God

Bethel Christian Reformed Church

First Christian Reformed Church

Faith Lutheran Church

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

United Pentecostal

First Reformed Church

American Reformed Church

DeMotte Town Court

Incorporation of DeMotte

August 10 Incorporation Hearing

September 1965 Incorporation

First Town Board Election

The First Town Board

DeMotte Town Council 1969-1997

DeMotte Town Hall

DeMotte Park Board

Wastewater Treatment Begins

DeMotte Chamber of Commerce

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Wastewater treatment begins


Several years passed from the time a wastewater treatment facility was seriously discussed by the DeMotte Town Board on August 8, 1971 until its completion in 1978. Peller, Tanck and Gertsmeier, an engineering firm from Valparaiso, was hired to design the wastewater facility and help in applying for grants for federal and state funds that were available to towns on a most needed basis. The federal government funded 75 percent of the project, the state provided 10 percent, and the towns were required to come up with 15 percent of the cost. The land where the plant is located was purchased from John H. Boezeman.

The first public hearing was held August 8, 1974 and the sewage grant applied for. The board found out in September that DeMotte was not high enough on the list of most needy cities and towns to receive the grant.

In March, 1976 the federal grant finally came through. DeMotte floated a bond issue with the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) for the 15 percent of the town's share toward the total cost of the project. The interest on the bond issue was 5 percent.

On May 18, 1976 construction bids for the project were awarded to Bowen Construction for the Division I work at a cost of $914,930 and Division II work to Russell Davis Construction at a cost of $2,277,476.

Wastewater Treatment plant in the beginning

Fred Zeck was hired to work securing property easements for the digging that would be needed to lay the sewer lines. It was not an easy time for the citizens of DeMotte while construction was in progress. For over a year the streets were torn up and piles of dirt were everywhere. When the job was completed and things became normal again, people were able to realize what an asset the sewer system was to the town. An approximate monthly rate of $10.67 was set for homeowners to be charged but a 20 percent increase was implemented in 1982. A budget for maintaining the plant was also set up.

At the January 23, 1978 meeting, the announcement was made that 55 units were hooked up to the sewer and 103 permits were issued. In May, 1978 Fred Zeck was hired as the plant superintendent and Dick Higgins was hired as assistant superintendent in October, 1979. In 1986, Higgins became superintendent and Bob Barton was hired as assistant.

In 1988 FmHA offered the town a buy back program where they could buy back the bonds which the town had purchased to fund the sewer utility and substantially reduce the cost to the town.


The Illinois bonding firm of Ice Miller, Donadio and Ryan were accepted as the purchasing agent for the buy back of the bonds from FmHA with a substantial cost saving of $344,000. This savings were then used to reduce the payments the town had been making to FmHA by seven years.

Wastewater treatment plant since remodeling

An award was given by the Indiana Pollution Control Association to the DeMotte plant for the 'Best Class 2' laboratory facilities in the state in 1990.

A lift station was installed at 400 Hickory Street in January, 1995.

Several increases in the rates have been instituted over the years with the average rate in 1997 being $20.36, with the cost of the hook-up fee ranging from $1250 to $1600.


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Historical and Community Content

NEW!! DeMotte, Indiana History (1997)

New project: American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
      (This will be an ongoing project with entries added frequently.)

Churches in DeMotte, Indiana

City Methodist - Gary's Sacred Ruin
     Selections from 1967 City Methodist Church Directory (January 2004)
     Historic Gary Church Set for Wrecking Ball (June, 2005)
     Aerial Photos of City Methodist (August, 2005)

Photographs of Historic Places in Jasper County, Indiana
     Jasper County Courthouse  (February, 2002)
     Rensselaer Carnegie Library (February, 2002)
     St. Joseph Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall) (February, 2002)
     Independence Methodist Church (October, 2002)
     Fountain Park Chautauqua (October, 2002)
     Remington Water Tower (February, 2005)

Memorial to Victims of Flight 4184 (February, 2002)

Lake Michigan Vistas (May, 2002)

Door Prairie Auto Museum (LaPorte, Indiana) (September, 2002)

Northwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene former Campground (San Pierre, Lomax Station)
     Aerial Photos of former Campground (August, 2005)

Who's Who In the District (Northern Indiana Church of the Nazarene, 1939-40)

Nazarene Album (Northern Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, 1934)

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